Originally from Elkins, West Virginia, Bill Heckle moved to Greenbrier County in 2018 to take the helm at Greenbrier Valley Brewing Company (GVBC). Heckle has breathed new life into GVBC, launching a series of successful expansions that have seen both production and distribution increase by several orders of magnitude.
The GVBC mission is simple–enhance their customers’ lives by producing unique craft beer brought to and reached for on adventures small and large. They partner with local and regional retailers to strengthen their local community and economy. Their pride in West Virginia is boundless. They follow their motto, “Get Out. Explore. Bring Beer,” by remaining environmentally friendly in the production and distribution of its products.
How did you get started in this business?
“I started as a minority owner in shares. I owned a bar in Elkins, and I saw that the brand had a lot of potentials. It needed to be more consistent with the availability of the time. [For example], you could order one [Beer] and not get it again for a couple of months. It wasn’t the quality of the product, but the availability, so when I come down, I thought it needed some expansion where you could produce more. That was the business plan we’ve put in place, and before COVID-19, we were right on projection,” said Heckle.
What is your 30-second pitch for GVBC?
“We make high-quality Beer as you can imagine around, and we live by our motto, get out, explore, bring beer, and enjoy the outdoors. Right now, we have a small batch that is only available at the brewery, and it’s our explorer series. We put our trailheads with longitude and latitude on a trail in West Virginia as a “this is your place to start your exploration. Get out there and be one with nature. If you pack it in, pack it out. Recycle and try to be responsible,” said Heckle.
Why do you think brewing companies in West Virginia get along so well?
“It’s an industry where if someone is going to drink my beer, they’re probably going to try someone else’s and vice versa. Everybody likes to sample and see what everyone else is doing, especially in the last three years. The quality has gone up dramatically across the board. Everyone has their hit and misses, but the practice is that almost everyone is putting out a quality product whenever they put it out. That’s trial and error. The more you make, the better you get at making it,” said Heckle.
Heckle was a guest on the Positively West Virginia podcast. Listen to the full podcast here.
PWV QUICK BITS
- RECOMMENDED ACTION TO TAKE EVERY DAY: “Show up. I’ve seen where if people don’t show up, they don’t succeed,” said Heckle.
- RECOMMENDED BOOK: The Wealth in Nations by Adam Smith